A Real Gem

Seller turns love for precious gems into profits.

by Brad and Debra Schepp
- Feb 10, 2016

Online seller David Saad is happy to contribute to people's long love of looking their best.

"The oldest jewelry found was some shells and beads from 100,000 years ago," he tells us. "As soon as humans had any spare time, they started adorning themselves."

As soon as humans had any spare time, they started adorning themselves

Saad has been helping shoppers beautify themselves since 1999, when he began selling on eBay. With nearly 10,000 completed transactions and a 99.8 positive feedback score on the marketplace, we thought Saad had a thing or two to teach us about e-commerce, in general, and using the listing software Vendio, in particular. We were right.

Family heirloom

Today, Saad has his own online store named Skyjems, a name he chose for his son, Sky. There, Saad lists emeralds, sapphires and other gemstones. And he continues to sell on eBay. His start in the gemstone business came about quite naturally. His dad was in the business for years, so Saad literally grew up in it.

The two men worked together at the beginning of Saad's career, but the young entrepreneur had ideas and personal goals he wanted to pursue. That's when he branched out into his eBay business. The young business grew quickly, and in about a year, Saad's mom came onboard to help. She has a background in accounting, and the mother-son duo have been working together ever since.

Why Vendio?

Saad began using Vendio early in his selling career, back when the company was Andale.

"There was no way I could do it all through eBay's system and be able to figure out my inventory," he recalls. "Order status and emailing customers were all individual. Sending invoices was labor intensive."

It's reasonably easy to make changes. Their bulk editing tool is the best I've ever seen

To scale his business, he'd have to automate. He tried other auction management software, but stuck with Vendio.

"I still haven't found anything I'd switch to," he confesses. "The best of them is just as good as Vendio, so there's no reason to switch."

Vendio is fully featured, Saad continues.

"Everything is there," he adds. "You can go from A to Z with it. It's reasonably easy to make changes. Their bulk editing tool is the best I've ever seen."

The merchant especially likes the speed and accuracy of the software. "They offer tools others don't," he continues. "I can load only 100 items per page, but I can change the price on 1,000 items in 3 or 4 minutes. It's pretty robust."

That's not to say Saad hasn't had some challenges with Vendio. "No system is perfect, but none of the others is as complete," Saad notes.

The seller would like to see more webstore features from Vendio, but he quickly adds that none of the software's competitors offer anything better.

Less is more

The merchant has been building his webstore throughout the past year. He still depends on eBay for most of his customers. And he's picked up a few tips he now implements in his store: Having more items on the site isn't always better.

"We have a few thousand items listed in the store," he says. "I used to have more, but I realized it was way too much for people. I scaled it back."

For instance, Saad used to list hundreds of emeralds in the store, but that overwhelmed shoppers. "Now I have 10 in one size and 10 in another," he tells us. "Offering fewer choices can be better."

Today, he has begun to average about a sale a day through his webstore.

Getting more shoppers

Saad has developed some good marketing strategies over the years, and Vendio supports some of those efforts. Every email that goes out to people through Vendio invites customers to visit Saad's webstore. The invitation also offers a $10 coupon.

Every email that goes out to people through Vendio invites customers to visit Saad's webstore. The invitation also offers a $10 coupon

If someone buys from him, Saad can go to his store's inventory and select a few items those shoppers might also like. He can also target wholesalers and contact them through Vendio. He can then reach out to these shoppers with special offers.

He also uses his blog as another promotional tool, sharing his expertise on gems. He says his blog is really a skin-deep look at gems. Whole books have been published on sapphires, for example, and he would love to write more, but now doesn't seem to be the right time. Running a successful business is his first priority.

Then and now

Over the years, Saad has seen a lot of changes in online selling. In the early days of eBay, you had to know more, he recalls. "So many things were more hands on in those days. You had to know basic HTML. You had to know digital photography," he explains.

But the things that have kept his business going have been sticking to the basics of any successful business: a love for his product and good business values.

"I like to think our service and our customer service are pretty exceptional," he adds. "Maybe I'll never be the best, but at least I'm trying."

In the meantime, he gets to surround himself with beautiful things he enjoys, and he contributes to humankind's long-held fancy for decorating ourselves.

About the Author

Brad and Debra Schepp are the authors of 20 books, including eBay PowerSeller Secrets and The Official Alibaba.com Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace. Their most recent book, which Deb co-authored with John Lawson, Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It's Not About Likes—It's About Sales, was recently named the 2015 Small Business Book of the Year in the social media category.

For further information, visit Brad and Deb's website, bradanddeb.com.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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